Canberra: Zaneta Mascarenhas became the first person of Goan descent to be elected to Australia’s lower house of representatives. Mascarenhas, an engineer by profession, was born in Australia, although her mother and father have Goa roots.
The mother-of-two is a member of the Labour Party and was elected as a Member of Parliament for Swan Division after defeating her Liberal opponent Kristy McSweeney, making her the first woman to hold the seat of Swan in its 101-year history.
In her winning speech, she said, “It’s a rather exhilarating second. I know that the people of Swan have made me the first woman to be elected as a consultant tonight. We were optimistic about the future.” She said apart from emphasizing that the environment and fighting corruption are two of her top goals in the Australian government.
In May 1979, her mother and father immigrated to Australia and resided in Kambalda, a nickel mining town where her father worked. However, she and her husband are living in East Victoria Park with their two children, Lincoln and Felicity, for the past eight years.
Mascarenhas tried to enter politics for the first time in 2019, ahead of the Australian federal election and announced her intention to run as a Labor Party candidate for the Swan electorate. But in favor of her colleague, she decided not to contest at that time.
Mascarenhas also joins a long list of distinguished Goans to be elected as legislators in the United Kingdom. The majority of them happen to be from the Labour Party. Keith Vaz, Valerie Vaz, and Suella Fernandes, all of the Goan descent, were elected as MPs in the United Kingdom.